Thursday, December 29, 2011

Arriving in Germany!

New crop of missionaries arriving to the Berlin mission

Ariel & Sister Stewart leaving the mission home with all Ariel's luggage :)

Willkommen nach Deutschland!

So I have arrived safely to Berlin. The first day here has been rough. I successfully got rid of anything I have ever eaten in the 21 years I have been on this earth. At 1am I woke up really nauseous and then from 2:30am-1:00pm I've been throwing up and having really horrible trips to the bathroom (imagine any time you've ever felt horrifically sick and ever imagined how your body could be treating you so terribly). I'm sure you all wanted to know. Accompanying all of that has been body aches and chills and then heat waves.
I'm feeling a lot better today. I spent all day at the mission office and mission home while Sister Pimentel took care of me or Sister Monson in the mission office. I've taken 3 long naps which have helped a lot! Also I've only eaten three crackers today and three glasses of water and am doing much better at keeping food inside me. Tomorrow we will have our Golden Conference and find out who our trainers will be and what area we will serve in. They call us "goldens" not "greenies" (Most missions refer to their new missionary arrivals as Greenies) here because they say we're magical, like gold :) Our p-days are Monday so I'll get to email you then! I hope you are all doing well and that you're keeping food down! I love you all.
-Ariel Nell

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

From the airport

Ariel was able to squeeze in a 45 minute phone conversation with us on Monday as she began her travels to Germany. She seemed in good spirits and said that the missionaries had the option of eating before their flight or calling home. Only a couple of the missionaries she traveled with opted to call their families. You can bet Ariel was the first one to the pay phones. It was wonderful to hear her voice and chat with her. She sounded anxious about her trip and just wants to "be in Germany already!" We're thrilled for her and this time seems to go by quickly but slowly. Ariel's travel time to Germany was extensive - travelling from Salt Lake City to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Then a connecting flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam and then onto Germany. We haven't heard if they made it yet, but after a long phone call to Delta, they were finally able to confirm that Ariel's flight landed. An "in flight" status online for over 24 hours was kind of confusing :)

She thinks her P-Days will be on Mondays, so we're expecting to here from her next week. For anyone wanting to send letters, start using the Germany address!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Last Emails From MTC - The actual last one

Merry Christmas Family!!

   So the MTC just let us know this morning that we would be able to email our families for Christmas! How fun! Es ist ein Weihnachten Wunder as we like to say (a Christmas miracle). So this morning I woke up at the normal 6:30, showered, and then got dressed and opened my Christmas gifts! Thank you all so much! I love it and I love seeing everyone's pictures inside! That's something the mission has definitely made me appreciate so much more, pictures!

   How was your Christmas morning? Did you get to take lots of pictures?? I'd love to see! This morning we got to have sacrament meeting as a whole MTC together, all 2,120 missionaries. It was really impressive to see how they were able to accomplish it. Elder Bednar also came with his wife to attend our sacrament meeting and talk to us. He and his wife did a fantastic job! Elder Bednar talked to us about turning towards others instead of focusing on ourselves like the natural man. He explained that Elder Neal A. Maxwell said once that "There would have been no atoning sacrifice without the character of Christ." Elder Bednar said that the character of Christ was in the midst of affliction he turns outward to help others instead of focusing on himself. Cookie monster, he said, is the perfect example of the natural man. And Elder Bednar proceeded to talk like cookie monster," me want cookies now,  me want baptisms now, me want investigators now!!!"  while pounding the podium. It was quite funny but it got the point across. Something interesting about German is the word to repent means to turn around or turn back. Elder Bednar was saying that when we repent we're turning back to God so that our focus can be on others. He challenged us to lose ourselves in the work of serving others before we can work on ourselves to have the character of Christ more upon us. when we do that we tend to find ourselves in the service of others without intending to. Then at the end he gave us a blessing and said that according to our desire and diligence we will increase in our understanding of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, and with that will come every gift of the spirit that we will need for the rest of our lives to never fall away and lose this gospel from our lives. It was really a wonderful spirit and he said so much more but I'll share with you all some more through letters! Having him speak to us was like drinking from a fire hydrant but it was WONDERFUL! I really learned a lot about Jesus Christ today and what kind of person I need to be. I am really far from there but I'm excited to change my focus onto others and be a better disciple of Christ.

    We just had our Christmas lunch of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. It was fun to eat a semi-homey meal. We then walked up to the Provo temple one last time, took some pictures, and now I'm emailing you all! I'm pretty much all packed. I got all of it done yesterday and right now I'm under on both bags. One is 45 and the other is 48 lbs. (When flying, if their luggage goes over the weight limit, they have to pay extra) I did not count in the fact that I have used a lots of things that won't be coming with me to Germany.  I miss you all very much and hope that y'all have a really fun Christmas filled with love and smiles and laughter and perhaps a fire!  Dad make sure you play "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on the piano . I was thinking about that the other day how I used to sit with you and sing along while you played. Mumma I'm sorry I'm not there to help with cooking. Dad said you're having lamb for christmas! I hope you all enjoy it and fill your bellys with wonderfulness. Be sure to share with me all your Christmas stories and all the events that have transpired between today and tomorrow morning when I get to talk to you. (Missionaries can get to call their families from the airport when they are going International. Ariel plans on calling from the Salt Lake City airport before her flight)

I love you all. Have a fabulous Christmas day! Remember Christ today and I'll talk to you all TOMORROW!!! Oh meine gute, I may just wet my pants with excitement!

Love you all,
 Ariel Nell

Last Emails from the MTC - The 1st One

 Hey family!!
Can you believe it!?  It’s almost time to go! I had breakfast this morning (12/24) but I've got so much nerves I don't think that was a good idea. I'm so excited to go to Germany and to talk to you all my breakfast may just come right back up! Thank you EVERYONE for the emails today! I loved hearing from you all and thank you for your last words of advice and encouragement. Mum, thank you so very much for the boots and gloves and knee highs. (Christmas gifts) As I am typing this last email from the MTC I am wearing a dress you made and me new knee highs and gorgeous new boots! All the sisters love them too!! :) I'm sorry I forgot to tell you all that I did get the package with all the Christmas gifts and the second package last night. You should be proud of me I haven't opened anything wrapped! I've tried to convince the other missionaries to wait till tomorrow too but some just couldn't handle it and have already opened everything. Quite funny!

   So this week we had to say good-bye to our teachers Bruder Hill and Bruder Pedersen. I felt like mum and dad were dropping me off at LSU again and sending me off into the world. We have become a family to one another and its sad to leave everyone but its for a really good reason. Our last day with both teachers they brought pictures of the actual investigator they were playing. (I'm not sure if I told you all but every investigator we taught was someone that they did) It was really neat to see pictures of Ming, Peter, and Dieter. They also had pictures of where they served and many German traditions. I'm excited to experience a new culture and a new people. I learned to embrace and love the people of Louisiana and their wonderful culture I'm sure the same will happen for Deutschland! Yesterday we spent the entire day in in-field orientation and it was phenomenal!! They went through contacting people in the airport, in parks, wherever, using members, setting goals, and having faith in all that we do. We did a bunch of workshops and had a lot of role-plays and discussions. It was really good and made me really excited to travel on Monday. From what we have been told we will spend a few days in the mission home training with our trainer and we should be with our trainer for the next two tranfers, which takes us to then end of March! Time is flying by too quickly already!

  Tonight we get to watch a movie and eat popcorn. Tomorrow a general authority is supposed to come and speak to us, we're going to have a giant sacrament meeting, a Christmas lunch just like at Thanksgiving so our workers can go home to their families, and then we're going to run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to do some last minute packing :)

   I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of love and peace and joy and yummy yummy food! I'm sorry this is not a very interesting email but I just wanted my wonderful family to know how much I love and miss you all! Thanks for telling me whats going on in your lives. I really enjoy hearing about you all and what you're doing. If there is anything I can do for you all just send a holler! I love you! Be good, have fun, get along, and remember to live in the moment and don't worry so much about the future. As long as you're doing what you're supposed to everything will work its self out.

   Love you all, be good and have a Fröliche Weincahten bitte! Ich habe Sie alle Lieb! Tschüss bis Montag wann ich kann rufen Sie an!!!
-Liebe Ariel Nell :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Almost the last Email from the MTC! - Deutschland in ein Woche!!

Hello beautiful family!!
   So this will be the second to last email you will be getting from me. Since we leave on our P-day, next monday, they are giving us p-day on saturday so I'lI get to email you all then too! On Thursday we all got our itinerary so I shall let you know how my traveling will be. They have made me the traveling leader and put me in charge of everyones tickets and getting everyone to Germany. I'm not sure if I like all this responsibility.... Anyways for our flight plans: We leave at 9:54am from Salt Lake City  to Minneapolis, MN arriving at 1:37pm. Then fly from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, Netherlands arriving at 6:35am on the December 27th. The last flight at 8:00am from Amsterdam to Berlin arriving at 9:25am. It's going to be a long day of traveling but we're all very excited. The Alpine missionaries will actually be stopping in Atlanta on the 26th, so lucky!

    On Tuesday for the devotional we got to hear from Elaine S. Dalton again. She talked to us about three gifts: gifts in unfamiliar packages, spiritual gifts, and gifts we give the world. I really enjoyed her inspiring words. She told us that we have the grand priviledge to do here on earth what we did in the premortal world: to share our testimonies of Christ. Yesterday with my district we watched a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland about the miracles of a mission. He explained that the same battle we fought in our pre-existence, whether to choose to follow Heavenly Father and Christ or Satan, is the same battle we are fighting here on earth. We're just in a new arena. It's interesting to me that everything we do here is because of what happened there. It just shows how extremely important understanding the plan of salvation is.

    My district was interviewed by a Swiss radio station, Schweizer Radio DRS. The reporter said it was the equivalent to NPR but in Switzerland. An MTC PR man found me a few days before the interview and said that should the Swiss reporter want to interview one-on-one with someone they chose me to be the Sister representative. When we actually got to be interviewed he didn't pull any of us out, but he did go around asking questions. He wanted a Sister to respond in German and asked if anyone would be willing. My whole district pointed to me and so I responded to a question of his all auf Deutsch! Cool huh?! He asked what our daily schedule was so I explained some of the regular things we do each day. It certainly was no where close to good grammar but it was a neat experience of being a representative of Jesus Christ. The MTC people told us that normally the European missions only get 1 VIP interview a year, and now they've had 5 in the past 3 months, our district participating in two of them! After interviewing us the Swiss reporter was so intrigued that he has decided to write two articles instead of the planned one. One about the church and one just about the MTC. The MTC PR man said that if it is published they will send it to our missions so we can see the articles. I sure do hope so!

    On Thursday we had our last appointment with our investigator Ming. He got baptized on Saturday. It was such a bitter-sweet thing to have our last lesson with him. We taught about temples and eternal families and committed him to prepare himself to enter into the temple once he is baptized. I had the opportunity of baring my testimony of how grateful I am that one day I may be sealed forever to someone in the temple, so that we can be good examples to our children and raise them in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  So to all of you who are married, I hope you realize what a blessing the temple is and that you see it in your lives each day!

    Daniel and Rebecca Winters are both in the MTC now and last night they did a vocal duet together of The First Noel. It was really cute to see! I saw Daniel a few days earlier and said hi and he asked if he knew me. I felt a little awkward but explained I grew up with Rebecca and am friends with Aubree Stoddard. Today since the temple is closed we don't get to attend a session but we have the opportunity to clean it. I'm really looking forward to it!! I'll tell you all how it goes on Saturday when I get to email again!

   Sunday was a really hard day. Realizing how close Christmas is made me really home sick. In Relief Society, I think they tried to make us not homesick but having the daughters of the Relief Society Presidency talk about Christmas in their missions, that just made me a balling mess. It's like I want to be in the mission or at home for Christmas, just not in the MTC. Its a learning experience for sure.

   OH!!!! you'll all love this! In Relief Society they said "a wonderful company gave us make up for Christmas, please don't throw it away." Too funny :) All the Sisters in my district turned and looked at me when they made that announcement.

    I'm out of time, but I love you all so very much. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support. It's such a blessing to know so many people are behind me! I love you all! Have a fabulous week!
-ariel nell

Monday, December 12, 2011

Picture Time - part 4 (Captions provided by Ariel)

Our district (19B) huddling for warmth. 12/4/11

Sister Noyes & I watching the sunset. November 2011

(L to R) Sisters Hatch, Noyes, me & Smart. November 2011

(L to R) Sisters Hatch, Noyes, me & Smart. November 2011

(L to R) Me, Sister Hatch & Sister Noyes. November 2011

(L to R) Sister Smart, Me & Sister Noyes. November 2011

All of us freezing outside. 12/4/11

Sister Hatch & I. Sunday 12/4/11

Me all decked out for the cold. 12/4/11. Tell Tammi thank you for the scarf and gloves!


I've got two weeks left until Deutschalnd day!!! How exciting??!! We're all getting really excited to finally get to Germany but upset to leave everyone. Half of my district will be going to the Alpine mission, which includes Austria, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein. It'll be sad to say goodbye to all of them. The MTC wanted to let our families know that no packages will be accepted after the 23rd of December but I don't expect any coming because I think it's headed to Deutschland right? and in case you forgot I will not have the opportunity to call home on Christmas. (Missionaries usually only get to call home twice a year - Mother's Day and Christmas) I think they're will be close to 2500 missionaries here on Christmas so you can see how difficult that would be.

    Here are some funny stories from the week. Tuesday morning I heard someone's alarm go off so I dutifully got out of bed and on my knees and began saying my morning prayer. Mid-prayer Sister Curtis goes, "Sister Abamonte, it's 4:30 in the morning." So I stopped praying and got back into bed. Come to find out another sister in our room had set her alarm so she could get up and help Sisters in her district leave for the Peru MTC. I felt silly but how would I know what time it was. It wasn't my alarm clock! :) I had a dream this past week that I was reading in the Bible and the verses went something like," and God said to honor the Fleur De Lis and LSU is of God." I'm pretty sure that's not in the Bible anywhere but in my dream I was pointing it out to one of my Louisiana friends. I'm pretty sure it's blasphemy to be making up scriptures too. Oops! At dinner two nights ago I was explaining that I liked fried okra. In mid-chew of a tator tot (kind of like fried potatoes no bigger than your thumb) one Elder goes," You like fried OPRAH?!" and then I laughed and tator tot went up my nose. It is an unpleasant feeling to have to blow your nose because it's stuffed of tator tots. Elder Hemsley, one of our zone leaders, enjoys rapping about Gospel Principles or the various things we have to memorize in German. I asked him this week if he thought we could ever punch Satan and he goes," yeah, everytime someone is baptized." I thought that was funny. And last, I had an epic fail in teaching an investigator this week. Jose was curious about how it would be alright for Nephi to kill Laban. Sister Noyes told me I should pull out the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that the Lord explains why it was okay. Its in D&C 98: 24-32. I accidentally started reading from verse 14 which talks all about renouncing war and turning the Jews to the Prophets and the Prophets to the Jews. He was quite confused. And so was I when I realized I had no idea what the scripture was talking about that I was reading. Moral of the story: know your scriptures in German so you can teach them on the fly in German.

    We got 25 new missionaries in this past Wednesday. They make our group of the older missionaries look soooo small. There are only 4 new sisters so it was easy to learn their names and faces but I can't ever recognize all the Elders and certainly not their names. Thats something I've got to work on. This Wednesday we get to host which is where we open car doors and lead the new missionaries around to get the various items they need when they first get to the MTC. It should be fun and quite cold but we're all excited!

       Elder Snow from the Presidency of the Quorum of the Seventy and his wife came this past Tuesday. Something that Elder Snow said that hit me pretty hard was that I'm a full-time missionary. Full-time missionary service will define me as a person. It made me think that I can't "check-out" as a missionary. I have to work full time and give the Lord my entire forcus and will. This is not my time, its the Lords'. In class this past week we got to watch a clip from a devotional that David A. Bednar gave several years ago in the MTC. He spoke about how to recognize that we're teaching with the Spirit. His suggestion: quit worrying about it! He said as long as we are being good boys and good girls, honoring our covenants, keeping the commandments, and doing our absolute best the Lord will fill our mouths with the words we need and put us in the places or with the people we need to be. He related a really neat story from his mission that Elder Packer spoke of in a talk entitled, "The 20 mark note".  He gave the talk to BYU-Idaho students. If you can, see if you can find it and read it. It was really interesting. And Elder Bednar served in Germany which is even cooler ;) On Sunday Sister Noyes and I sang in sacrament "Tochter Zion" a German Christmas hymn only in our German hymn books. I got one of the other sisters to record us singing and will be mailing Bryan the SD card so you all should be able to hear us! Sunday evening we got to have our fireside given by the BYU mens chorus. It was really nice to just hear Christmas music and not have to take notes. Nothing like Spelman and Moorehouse but the best I could get out here :)

   Please do tell me what happens between Alabama and LSU! Thanks for your emails! and letters! and dear elders! I love hearing from everyone and knowing what you're up to. OH!!! I was able to do an endowment session for another german today, Ottilie Kause. :) I love you all and I hope you are all safe and well! I pray for you always! Thanks for all your support. It means the world to me! Remember to be good boys and good girls, honor your covenants, keep the commandments, and do your very best!!! LOVE YOU!
- Ariel Nell

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Picture Time - part 3 (Captions by Ariel)

(L to R) Sister Hatch, Noyes, me, and Smart at the Provo Temple

Elders Hanson & Hemsley, our zone leaders in personal study

Christmas decorations on our window in the classroom

Our Christmas tree

Our tree again :)

LSU flower at Provo temple!

(L to R) Sister Noyes and I, headed to the temple

Laundry time - writing in journals & letters and reading letters

Picture Time - part two (captions by Ariel)

Sister Stowell. She had black ducktape on her lip and the German flag behind her desk. How could I not take a picture :)

(L to R) Sister Smart, Hatch, Noyes, Stowell, Floyd, and me in our room 17M #387

Sunset on November 20,2011

Sunset from temple walk, looking at Oquirrn mountains. November 20,2011

Pink sunset, November 20,2011

White on the bottom of the picture is SNOW!

SNOW! Mt. Timpanogos

Provo Temple

Me & Sister Stowell

Sister Noyes & me

Picture Time! (captions provided by Ariel)

Snow on the Mountains on our way to the Provo temple. I have no idea who the girls are in the bottom of the picture, their heads were in the way

Playing in the leaves on our way to the Provo temple. ( me and Sister Noyes)

Here is my name tag. The orange dot is now on the back on the tag, but signifies that you're a newbie ;)

Sister Noyes & I

My cute Anthropologie outfit :) (Cardigan courtesy of Mum; skirt courtesy of Dad)

Here's a map in our classroom that shows three Missions in Germany

Monday, December 5, 2011

MTC - Week Six! "Baby It's COLD Outside"

Hey everyone,
So this past Tuesday, we got to hear from Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita of the Quorum of the Seventy. He and his wide spoke about being missionaries and how we can be better teachers. His wife said that our companion is our first investigator. I really liked that. Preach My Gospel (missionary training book) says that you can only convert someone as far as your own conversion. By working with our companions we can build and strengthen our testimonies. Usually when we have guests come to the MTC to talk to us, they get us to sing “Called to Serve”. I’m starting to feel that “Called To Serve” is our “trick” that we can do. You know, like when people will visit your house and you show them all the tricks your dog can do like play dead and shake? Well ours is belting out “Called To Serve”. It’s fun though!

One thing I really like about the MTC is when you are walking around outside you can usually hear the Haka being chanted by the Samoan and Tongan Elders. Sometimes they do the actions too! The cafeteria likes to serve fish. It is a bit disconcerting since there is no ocean nearby for miles. I do not trust their fish, but one night they made “fish ‘n chips” for dinner. I, of course, was quite excited, but like any Italian Scottish child would do, I asked if they had malt vinegar (for this is the ONLY way an Abamonte shall eat fish ‘n chops) and the people go, “We had red vinegar?” Hahahaha! One day they too shall learn the wonderfulness of malt vinegar, until then – they’ll just never know.

So Elder Anderson, an Elder in my district, is really big into marching band and I think plans on going into music when he finally goes to college. He and I were talking about music the other night and how difficult the Melophone, as relative to the French Horn, is. Then and Elder from our Zone piped up and said that the Flute was the hardest instrument. I have to say that I laughed. Elder Anderson and I explained to him that it wasn’t considered in the category of very difficult instruments like the French Horn, Bassoon, and Oboe. But he was insistent. It was very funny to me. That made me laugh for the rest of the night. Sorry guys, I know that may not be funny to you, but you should have seen how serious he got. :)

Sister Noyes and I auditioned to perform “Oh Holy Night” at the MTC in a meeting. They sent us a letter that said we were assigned to the Senior missionaries orientation today, but we had to turn it down because at the time, we thought Sister Noyes had a hernia. She has been having some abdominal pains so we spent 2 ½ hours on Friday at the doctors, and 2 ½ on Saturday there too. Saturday night she though, she almost passed out in class. So we headed to the front desk and got to go to the ER at Inter-mountain Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. We got there at 9:15pm, They gave her insulin, drew her blood, made her pee in a cup, and did an abdominal ultrasound, a CT scan. At 2:15am we were told that she had a little cyst on her ovary. They didn’t discharge her until 3:15am and we didn’t arrive back to our room until 3:30am. I got 3 ½ hours of sleep that Sunday morning. I have to say I’ve never been more exhausted in my LIFE!!! When you are worked all day and used to going to bed at 10:30pm, 11:30pm feels like an all-nighter! And there were some interesting people that come out of the wood-work in Utah to go to the ER that late at night! It was good though that we were able to figure out what was wrong with Sister Noyes and that she and I got to have a fun bonding experience. :)

On Wednesday we get 25 new Deutschers, only 5 new sisters. Right now in our Zone, we have more Sisters than Elders, pretty nifty! Today, Tuesday and Wednesday we are all only speaking German to one another. It helps us to practice trying to get things our when we can’t exactly say what we want. And it strengthens what we already know. We also need to be good examples to the new missionaries coming in for our German. We got to watch the Christmas Devotional last night and that was really fun. Although, because I hadn’t had much sleep, I heard President Eyring says that Christ gave us Light for Christmas and then slept through the rest of his talk. But Uchtdorf and President Monson and MOTAB (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) did a fabulous job. Yesterday was also Elder Hanson’s, an Elder in our district, birthday. All the sisters got together random things we had and gave him presents. Sister Stowell made a tie for a sheet she found in the giveaway box. Another Sister gave him glow sticks. Brent, I’m sorry, but I gave him the Dream eye-cover you gave me and he loved it most! So, well done on helping an Elder out on his birthday! We also managed to find a pin that said “Birthday Girl”. All the other Elders complained that they weren’t having their birthdays in the MTC, so I think we did a good job.

This morning, I got to do some temple work with Sister Noyes. I had two German ladies (one from 1615), a French lady, a Native American, and a good ‘ole Georgia Peach. I like all the different names we get to do. We are all being investigators for one another and I’m pretending to be Nana (Paul’s mother, Marie Bubnich). If anyone has information about her conversion, I’d love to have that so I can better be her. I was trying to channel her the other day pretending to be her. I figured she would believe just regular things that the Catholic Church teaches if anything, so hopefully that was right!

Last, to go out with a funny store, Elder Hemsley says, “Come on Elder.” Elder Hansom replies, “Where are we going?” Elder Hemsley responds, “To the bat cave son!” Yes, they were going  to do more planning (in the toilet). They sure are silly, but they keep our time here full of laughter. Sister Stowell has been praying for focus, or so she though. She kept saying “ablenken”. Funny thing is – it really means distraction! She has now figured out why we she can’t focus :) haha! Well, I love you all, hope you’re doing well. Thanks for all your love and support!!! OH! And could Santa send me another hat? Its FREEZING here; just wait till I get to Deutschland!!
-Ariel Nell

Monday, November 28, 2011

MTC - Week Five!

I got t-minus 27 minutes to write here. But know that I’m VERY grateful you wrote to me!!! My German is coming along. I'm feeling really good about speaking it. My grammar is in no sense accurate all the time but you can understand what I’m trying to say. Our instructors called us to repentance Saturday night because they said we haven't been speaking a lot or enough of German throughout our day and we should be speaking it all the time so that is something Sister Noyes and I are going to work on this week and till forever.

Tuesday night Elder D. Todd Christofferson came and spoke to us at our devotional. I really enjoyed hearing him. He explained to us that we are companions with the apostles and that being missionaries has an apostolic duty that we are fulfilling. I had never thought of how serious or how high our callings are until then. He also told us when we come home from our missions to not say to the Lord that he owes us since we served him. We need to come home and say, I owe HIM even more; I will serve him all my life. The last point he made is something I really have a testimony of. He said, “Any trial we have on our mission will be swallowed up in the joy of Christ. It will be as nothing because we have learned of the Joy of Jesus Christ. Give your heart to God." Being here at the MTC has definitely made me recognize places in my life that I needed to change, repent of, or fix. As I have studied the Atonement I have come to know the immense love that our Father in Heaven really has for us and the sacrifice he offered, his Son, can enable us to accomplish anything in this life. Preach my gospel talks about us coming or being sent to this earth to find joy. I know that Joy in this life is recognizing the Joy in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If you haven’t ever studied it or come to know it I really encourage everyone to answer those four questions that Brother Heaton said about tithing and do it for the Atonement, or any principle for that matter that you don't quite understand. It’s really cool :)

So for our Thanksgiving we got to have a morning devotional from Elder Russell M. Nelson. Pretty cool huh?? Two apostles in ONE week! His wife spoke to us first and it was amazing! She told us to serve our missions after the manner of how the Lord will show us and not after the manner of men. In 1 Nephi is the story of the Lord instructing him to build a boat. Nephi explains that he didn't build it after the manner of men. When I read that it just made me want to see what kind of boat he actually did build. And then Sister Nelson talked about that very phrase. Kinda cool :) Elder Nelson first and foremost told us to tell our parents that he is very thankful for our families and to not forget to tell them! He taught us about the word Hallelujah which really means praise to the Lord God, Jehovah. It was fun to get a nice history lesson. He then played the Men of MOTAB (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) singing this song titled "Alleluia". I recommend you all listening to it. The accompaniment is really boring but the singing is wonderful! After our devotional we had thanksgiving lunch. And it was really good. I was really grateful for all the MTC did to give us a taste of home that day. My tray was full of good food. The pumpkin pie wasn't anything like Mum's but I ate it anyways and pretended that it was :) After lunch we had a humanitarian program where a man spoke to us about the humanitarian project we were going to do that afternoon. We put together 8,000 injury kits for the people in Sudan. It was fun being little assembly lines. So what do you get with extra supplies for these kits and a bunch of Elders?? Airplanes and bombs made of splints and wood and wraps for your arms. They were quite entertained! In the evening we got to watch the movie 17 miracles. They even gave us kettle corn!!

My district has begun to call me Sister Hollywood because I get at least one dear elder or letter from someone every day. I have to tell you all thank you so much for those letters. You have no idea how helpful they are to all of us. Even if it isn't from our own family. We all love sharing our letters and packages and such. So thank you family and friends!! I'm grateful for you all! So last Sunday we had 480 sister missionaries in the Provo MTC, an all-time record. Cool huh?

For our service assignment on Saturday, Sister Noyes and I cleaned bathrooms again like all the other times. Sister Noyes and I always set up our mop bucket, cleaning supplies, and broom outside the bathrooms and prop the men’s and women’s doors open so that people know they're being clean and are inhabited. Well....I was going from the women’s bathroom into the men’s to clean the urinals and toilet when I walked in on an Elder standing at the urinal peeing. I've quickly said sorry, ran out of there into the girl’s bathroom with Sister Noyes and proceeded to go red in the face while wetting my pants in laughter. Of all the places that would happen I would have never guessed it'd happen in the MTC.  I have learned here that elders don't always think through their actions like one elder giving his testimony saying he was grateful for all the missionaries there in the room except the sisters and proceeded to OOOO like he dissed us. Yes, Elders don't think through their actions but I'm learning to love and appreciate the work they do and look beyond their weaknesses. That has been a hard thing to learn but a good thing! :)

One of the Elders in my district received a Christmas tree with lights and ornaments to decorate it. We spent Saturday morning setting it up and put it in our classroom :) In our room I’ve set up the Christmas tree Brenda sent. It’s our little night light when we go to bed. I really like it. Oh Brenda! Thanks for the ear plugs! I've been sleeping like a dead man ever since!  The weather is getting worse with how dry it is and i believe my body is in retaliation to being here. It is constantly itchy with lovely rashes on my sides. I got Sister Stowell to scratch my back for me last night because it’s moved to my back now. Sister Noyes and I are going to go to the store and get lotion today so I can stop being so ashy!

Real quick! Sister Noyes and I committed our first investigator to baptism this past week. His name is Ming! It was such a thrill and it’s been a really fun experience to teach him. He's getting baptized December 17th, happy birthday Camilia :)

WELL..... I love you all! I'm sorry this email isn't full of even more funny stories but it’s been a great week full of devotionals and firesides and lots of learning.
 Love you Bunches and Bunches!
-Ariel Nell

Monday, November 21, 2011

MTC - Week Four

  Guten Tag!! Wie gehts Ihnen heute??  I love being able to hear from everyone!!! And I’m so jealous you all get a whole week off of school!!!! Dad thanks for your thoughts on Tithing. I'm sorry I didn't tell you last week but we had a member of the MTC Administrative Directors give a fireside all about tithing and what he had to say I thought you'd really enjoy. Brother Heaton said that as missionaries we have to teach the principle of tithing, not money. We have to help our investigators understand the purpose of paying tithing because if they don't have a testimony or understanding of just that principle they will not stay active. Tithing is something that is often taught from parent to child and so as missionaries we have to create a tradition with our investigators that is moveable from generation to generation. Last he taught us how to study principles of the gospel with four questions: What has the Lord said about Tithing?, How does the Lord feel about His children living the Law of the Tithe?, Why should an investigator want to commit to pay the Law of Tithing?, and How do I feel about it? I've been answering these four questions in my personal studies and my testimony of various principles has grown immensely. I'd suggest to anyone who’s not sure how to start studying to begin with this. It’s wonderful!!! 

       Last email I said we aren't allowed to listen to music and some people were confused so I shall explain. In the MTC, specifically this week, there are 2080 missionaries. They don't want us all to be able to play music at the same time because then it would be a chaotic mess and noisy. So no music in the MTC. Also depending on your missions, they have different rules to what you can listen to. 

      Now time for odd stories throughout the week :) On Tuesday night we have devotionals and the man conducting the meeting got up after the opening hymn and said, “Thank you Elders for that wonderful singing." Yes, I am a man now because I wear a tag and don't have two X chromosomes. And another Elder told me that you have to take your fiancé hiking through the Appalachian trail to make sure your marriage will work. So Mum and Dad, Lyndel and Mike, Andre and Ellen get hiking because you're a little late!! ;)  Sister Stowell, a Sister that I room with and whose is in my district, took a shower the other night. Many girls like to sing in the shower and so Sister Stowell thought she'd join in on Beauty and the Beast songs and this one Sister told her to stop singing. Sister Stowell explained that she liked to sing and just didn't have a very good voice and the other Sister told her, "No, you're just trying to be obnoxious." Lesson learned: the showers for some people are sacred time and do NOT sing unless invited to. Sister Stowell ran out of the bathroom before the other sister could find her. She was afraid for her well-being. 

   So Sister Noyes and I had a fabulous lesson with Ming this past week, actually two fabulous lessons. We got him to pray for the first time which was adorable. Apparently we forgot to explain that you can pray out loud so when we got him to pray we all folded our arms, bowed our heads, and waited. But nothing was being said.....I looked up and saw Ming with his hands pressed together like the Japanese do when they bow to greet people and his lips moving because he was praying, we just couldn't HEAR him :) I laughed, which is definitely not the best idea to do but it was just too cute and too funny. Afterwards we told him he could pray out loud and he thought that was funny but did it in our next lesson, so we're doing pretty good. Anyways, Sister Noyes walks out of our lesson with Ming into our classroom and there was the biggest stench of fart you've ever experienced. I turned to the Elders in the room and they said it wasn't them, that Elder Hemsley or Hanson did it, so I went out to find them. When I found them Hemsley pointed to Hanson and I told him, “Seriously, take it to the bathroom next time." Yes, I am everyone’s mother here too. Here’s a way you can tell you're on a mission with boys:  Elders Hemsely and Hanson told us that they do their planning in the bathroom," assume the position", and then proceeded to tell us who was in the left stall and who had the right. Apparently Sister Noyes and I planning in the classroom isn't productive enough :) And last, the Elders told us about the "pine cone of fertility." When you hold it in your hands, ponder on it, you will receive letters from girls in the mail. Kinda sounds like Aladdin and his magic lamp. One of our Elders swears by it. He got three letters from girls after holding it and thinking about it. HA HA! :)

   It snowed this past week!!! Sister Noyes got some pictures so I’ll be sure to send it. It was neat to see all those missionaries who had never seen snow run around and play in it. So I'm a bad companion, Sister Noyes’ Mum sent her a Willow Tree statue of a mother, father, and baby as a gift. Sister Noyes put it next to her on the air conditioning unit in our room. I was reaching for the area book and knocked her statue off the vent and beheaded both the mother and the father. I felt really bad and told sister Noyes to expect a gift from me once she gets off her mission. She wasn't upset, more laughed than anything but that’s how you know you're a bad companion when you break their gifts, two minutes after opening it. 

    This Sunday for Relief Society Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, Second Counselor in the General Primary Presidency came and spoke to us. She said that if we take care of the Lords children he will take care of ours (or our families :). We get to watch Music and the Spoken Word before and it’s the most wonderful time of the year because we get to hear MUSIC!!! If you can, watch last week’s episode where they sang "Come Thou Fount",  AMAZING!!! Some of the singers were even emotional. 

   Last fun stories: Sister Stowell, when teaching a lesson told the investigator that the Indians from India gave us Turks from Turkey to eat for thanksgiving. And our speaker last night said he told an investigator that he knew Christ milked the apostles in his last days, instead of saying ordained, and bore testimony of it!! Too funny, hopefully nothing that bad happens when I teach!!! KNOCK ON WOOD!!!

     I love you all! Hope you're enjoying your wonderful week off and I'll talk to you all next Monday! Happy Thanksgiving family!! Love you
- Ariel Nell

Friday, November 18, 2011

Excerpts from snail mail to Lyndel - 11/18/11

So Sister Pingree hid in Sister Stowell's closet last night. When Sister Stowell opened her closet she screamed and Sister Pingree was so startled that she screamed and then Sister Stowell grabbed her towel and ran! It was quite funny :)
The winter itch has kicked in and it's no fun. Everything is ashy, dry and itchy. The native Utahans think that me and Sister Noyes are strange for our bodies cracking, bleeding, and itching all the time now. I miss humidity.
I also seem to be the only one who showers after I work out. I didn't think that was odd, but needless to say, I shower the most! Some other people commented that me putting ice in a glass of chocolate milk was weird. You never realize the things you do that are considered strange until some Elder (usually) or Sister points it out! Ha :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

MTC - Week Three

So I’m going to apologize in advance for the randomness of this email or at least the order everything will be said. Throughout the week I make a bulleted list of what I want to email about and then I come into the labs and type like a speed demon. Sorry everyone has ditched ya'll for other Thanksgiving plans! But it seems like you're doing okay anyways :)  Just bummed I can't be there for it and even more jealous that Bryan will be there and have Thanksgiving with you all instead of me AND that he gets to make my salad! Someone’s got to do it some I’m glad he's got that job :)  So far, all we know about our Thanksgiving plans is that we won't have to sit inside all day for classes but that we will be doing a large service project and have a "Thanksgiving lunch". Seeing as the food isn't treating us (the Sisters) very well, we're not too excited. Speaking of the food - All the Sisters in my district have been having unbelievable pains and gas problems. Yes, laugh all you want Andre, Michael, and Bryan but it’s not funny! It’s to the point that most of us can't eat cause our stomachs hurt, or someone is throwing up bunches in the night. Luckily, one of the sisters brought tums so we've been eating those most obligingly.

    Yesterday we got to hear from Linda Burton from the General Relief Society Board. She spoke to us about how to deal or manage with a day of occasional discouragement. The first point she made was to rely on the scriptures and hymns for strength. It made me think of all the times I have felt most home-sick at school I’d play songs or children’s hymns that made me think of good times with the family. I've also asked Bryan to sing to me in the past and that has helped. I know that hymns are a true strength to us when we remember them and I seemed to have forgotten that. Probably because they don't let us listen to music here... Anyways, after relief society we stayed to hear the "Dress and Grooming" lecture. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I couldn't believe some of the things they were saying, I just had to laugh and write them down. I like rules people, you all know that, but this was just to the point of ridiculousness so I had to laugh it off. The lady speaking to us said, "Some Sisters like to pull out the most flamboyant things and wear them. So don't do that, okay, check. Next, “Put blush on so we're not washed out. The Brethren have asked us to put some color or blush on our faces!" Excuse me, what?! God made me beautiful, I’m not going to paint my face, and maybe if we didn't sit in classrooms for 30 hours a day we wouldn't be so pasty!!! Dad, it just made me think of you, how you always say if God wanted us to have pierced ears he would have put holes in our ears, well by golly gosh he would have put blush on my face too if he wanted it! Okay, I’ll get off my soap-box now :) 

    Sister Noyes and I have been trying to get our hands on a piece of music so that she can sing and I’ll accompany her. Well on our way to the music library, this man stopped me and asked, " Do you know where you're going?" I told him that I was just headed into the Music library and pointed to where it was. He said, "Oh okay, you looked like you had no idea." I'm not sure what my faced looked like but i seem to be running around the MTC with utter confusion on my face :) Hopefully he wasn't talking as if I was spiritually lost. 

   Bruder Hill and Bruder Pederson are our teachers for the time we are here and for the first couple investigators they play them. Well sister Noyes and I are teaching Ming from Vietnam, played by Bruder Pederson, and Peter, played by Bruder Hill. Ming is funny because he talks with an oriental accent but in German so all his German is really choppy and short. Peter is frustrating at the moment. He is a philosopher and doesn't believe God answers prayers because as a child he was raised in the Orthodox Church and his parents made him pray and he didn't find it helpful. The last lesson we couldn't get past the first point, so hopefully we'll be able to teach him more effectively tonight.

   I told you that we've had a snoring problem. Well the other night I woke up to shooshing whoever was snoring in our room and rolling over. Then Dieter F. Uchtdorf told me that our plane dropped 50,000 feet on our way to Germany and that’s why our flight was so rough. I have the strangest things run through my head at night....

   So the Elders in our district told me that they are having a competition to see who can gain the most weight. I was trying to think like a boy and asked, "The most muscle weight?" and they said no, just whatever weight to see who can be the heaviest when they leave here. One Elder also told me that the Sisters needed to eat more fiber to get all that crap out of us, speaking of the food and gas problem. Yes, I am on missions with silly boys sometimes. Michael, all the sisters are trying to patient and understanding. In the fireside last night, Brother Heaton, Provo MTC director, asked the Elders who’s built a fort out of all the spare bunk bed parts. A bunch of Elders raised their hands! It was just too funny. Before the fireside started me, Sister Noyes, Sister Hatch, and Sister Smart were sitting waiting for it to begin. This older man came up to us and asked if we were with the elders next to us. We said, “No”.  And he said,” Good, follow me”. And moved us to the front row. Pretty nifty! Maybe that will happen when a general authority comes to speak.

   The district that was here before us just left this morning for Germany. The missionaries headed to Frankfurt were the only ones flying through Atlanta. The two going to Berlin were going to fly to Detroit, Amsterdam, and then Berlin. We'll see what plans we have when we get to go.
  HOLY MOLY!! I only got two minutes left!!! AHHHH!

   I love you all! Thanks for all your love and support, sorry the mail takes so long to get to you! Just know that I’m thinking of you and Love you :)
-Ariel Nell

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Excerpts from snail mail to Lyndel

Today (Nov 1st) is really cold and really wet. There's SNOW on the mountains and it was sleeting earlier. We got to go to Gym today, I ran a mile and then did some chair dips and an abs work out with all the Sisters in my district. I've never been more hungry than I have at the MTC. There are no snacks. So just 3 meals and I am hungry! The food is scary looking sometimes which makes us settle for salad. We probably burn more calories eating it than what it actually gives us.

My companion is taking a nap and she snores. I have yet to be able to sleep through the night so I'm getting used to not running on much sleep at all. It's stressful here. We don't have any down time and it's always go go go. One of the sisters that I share a room with is in my district and had to go to the hospital last night cause her body is freaking out under all the stress. She said it was weird to drive around in Provo, outside of the MTC. Another sister hasn't been sleeping well either and the second day here she woke up screaming. It's hilarious to reminisce about now, but it's still a serious issue. And then a Sister I don't know fainted outside our room the other day, but that's because of some medication she took. That's all the drama for now :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Excerpts from snail mail to mum 11/8/2011

So, we're sitting at a Fireside waiting for it start. With Craig Zwick of the Seventy. It was like waiting in a mosh pit outside before they opened the doors. Sister Curtis, another sister in my district, and I pushed through the crowd to get in first. Because we're girls all the Elders were yelling, 'hands up', and they were so afraid they would touch us we go right in! The joys of being a girl :).

Well our days are super busy and packed. Here's what our schedule was today. We woke up at 6:30, peed, brushed our teeth, and went to the gym from 7:00-7:50. I ran a mile, did chair dips, and an abs workout. Breakfast started at 8:20 so that thirty minutes in between we all took showers and got dressed. Aren't you proud of me?! I can get ready in 30 minutes tops! Personal study was from 8:50-9:50, 10-1pm is classroom instruction time, lunch at 1. 2-3 was language study, then 3-4:30 was personal study time. At 4:40 we had a workshop on recognizing the holy ghost as we study the scriptures and teach our investigators or untersuchers auf deutsche :)Dinner was at 6 and at 7 our fireside with Elder Zwick. Afterwards at 8pm is our District Devotional review. 9pm is daily planning and then we have personal time from 9:30-10:30. At 10:30 lights are out and we're 'supposed' to be asleep. Yesterday, on P-day , doing our laundry and sitting outside was more enjoyable than what a normal person would think.

MTC - Week Two

Hey family!!!
So I thought I’d share some odd or funny stories that have happened so far while I’ve been here. Let’s start with the first day. So as soon as you run around and get registered and meet your district they hold this huge welcome meeting for all the new missionaries. There were, I think, 450 missionaries that came in the same day I did. I've been told 300-600 missionaries come in and go out every Wednesday. Anyways, the MTC president, President Brown asked for all the sisters to stand, so we did, and then he asked for all the sisters to stand who left boyfriends back home.....and it was me and one other sister. There were 450 pairs of eyes staring at us and all the Elders start making noises like booing coming from Death Valley when the Refs make bad calls against LSU. Needless to say I was beet-red in the face. Welcome to the MTC, we're going to call you out!
   On Saturday mornings we do our service projects and Sister Noyes and I were assigned to clean the bathrooms on the 5th floor of a building here. We were doing our last three bathrooms when an Elder began to walk into the Men’s restroom. I told him someone was in there and we were almost done. Then he asked if he could use the Women’s restroom and again I told him we were almost done if he wouldn't mind waiting a bit. He goes, "COULD YOU JUST WAIT LIKE 30 SECONDS SO I CAN GO TO THE BATHROOM!!!!" Crazy Elder couldn't seem to hold it. He ended up walking away with him companion. Sister Noyes and I think he's crazy.
   Sister Noyes had to go to the doctors for a check-up this week and I have to say it was the best experience of my life here. In the doctor’s office they have a "companion waiting room" and guess what’s in there??!!! PUZZLES!!! So I got to sit and do puzzles as I waited for Sister Noyes to return. When she was done I told her to go back in because I wasn't done with the puzzle. I was working on a Lake Powell puzzle. It wasn't very pretty but it was a puzzle :)
    Mumma! Thanks for the new cardigan. I wore it the next day with the Anthropologie skirt that Dad gave me for my birthday. The Sister missionaries asked if you made that skirt too, as most of my fun things you have made, and I explained that Dad bought it for me for my birthday. So be proud Dad! All the Sisters complained and said that if their Dads picked out a skirt for them it would be a hideous brown tarp! Ha ha.
On Saturday I thought I would set my alarm for 6 instead of 6:30 am so that I could get up a little earlier to make my hair look nice for Sunday. Sunday morning I woke up at 6:00am and got to spend the 30 minutes in the bathroom all to myself without a bajillion sisters running in and out. I went back into our room and another Sister told me that it was daylight savings so it’s actually 5 in the morning! So with the intention of looking nice on Sunday I missed out on another hour of sleep, oh well :)
   This week has been downhill as far as my health is concerned. I have a head cold that makes me sneeze like there’s no tomorrow, have lots of snot in my nose, not sleep (which isn't anything too new) and this morning I woke up really nauseous. Good thing its P-day so I don't have to sit in lots of classes. I'm hoping I'll be able to catch a nap at some point today. Last night we had a fireside from a man who is an attorney for the church. He talked about how the Lord has a hand in really getting the missionaries into all the countries they need to. He showed lots of graphs. One explained that 70% of the countries in the world do not allow religious freedom. That’s crazy! It was nice to hear a talk from a different kind of perspective than gospel lessons all the time.
   On Thursday my district got to meet Marcel (our investigator) as Bruder Pederson (our teacher). It was kind of like meeting a celebrity. It’s funny to see him laugh and joke around when in our lessons he rarely gave input and was so down it was just depressing to teach him! Today Bruder Hill, our other instructor, will be playing 5 different investigators and we will be practicing door approaches. We'll see how this goes! We got 5 minutes to see if we can set up an appointment to meet with them.
  (Ariel was told about the LSU football game that happened over the weekend) Andre, what the heck! How does no team score a touchdown and it be a good game? What was the score?? And yes the Elders are impressed when I say I go to LSU. I think they're jealous ;) So what is going to happen next with them? Will they go on to the championships??
Eli, you've got a letter coming so look for it sometime this week! Mail takes a ridiculous long time to come and go from here but know it’s out there :) Well meine Familie! Ich habe Sie alle lieb und Ich bin sehr dankbar for ihnen! Thanks for all your love :) Be good and have fun!! Catch me up on everything!
Love you,
Ariel Nell

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

MTC Week One

   How are ya'll doing? Being here at the MTC is difficult and not a walk in the park that I guess I thought it would be. There are definite up and down moments but it's good. My companion is Sister Noyes (pronounced Noise) and she is from Mesa, Arizona. She is super nice and knows lots of German already so that helps when we're studying together and attempting to talk to one another in German. My district is super fun! You can absolutely tell that the Elders used to be 19 year old boys but over the past five days we have all watched as they grow into Elders really fast. It's really cool. So for Sister missionaries in Germany they don't call them Schwester, or sister in German because Germans think of krankenschwesters which are nurses or nuns so we're just Sisters. So pretty much we spend all day in our classroom with the ten of us for planning, classroom time, personal study, and even breaks! Yesterday was church and it was funny how everything is spread out throughout the day. For Relief Society Elaine S. Dalton came to speak to us! They let us watch 'Music and the Spoken Word' before and while I was listening to the music I saw this lady on the stand and thought, "hey, she looks like Sister Dalton." Sister Noyes didn't know what she looked like so we couldn't make a definite decision until she was introduced! She said that she felt like our moms and she had one last time to impart a bit of knowledge before we go. Most of the sister missionaries here have grown up with her in the General Young Womens Presidency. It was really touching. She told us to never turn around when we're in the middle of the hill and to always remember who we are. I felt like that was really helpful advice just because being here made me question everything. It is not easy but I do think it's worth it.
   So I thought you'd appreciate this story. Yesterday at lunch I was sitting next to an Elder who told me that making dinner on Sunday was work. I turned to him with a puzzled face and said, "that's the Law of Moses, we don't practice that anymore." He's a funny kid (funny peculiar). But Lyndel can be sure that I'm not becoming a robot and am speaking my mind. Sister Noyes was concerned cause she wasn't listening to my conversation but all she heard was me say "what?!" across the table :)
   Our instructor is Bruder Hill and he served his mission in the Hamburg mission that doesn't exist anymore.There are only three german speaking missions: Berlin, Frankfurt, and Alpine (which includes Switzerland,Austria, and the lower bit of Germany.) Bruder Hill is really nice and VERY patient! He taught us how to pray in German already and bare our testimonies. The first time I prayed it was with my eyes open but now I can safely do it with them closed. Although I have just a few phrases that I know for sure are correct and everything else is just guessing :) We have an investigator that we're teaching. His name is Marcel, but he is actually our other instructor Bruder Peterson pretending to be someone he taught on his mission. Our first lesson with him was okay but Saturday we were able to teach him again and I think we did a great job! It's surprising how much words return to me that I totally forgot about. He was saying that life is hard and he doesn't know how God can help him through trials and I told him (all in German) that God answers our prayers through people or events to help us and sometimes he doesn't at all so that we can learn and grow from our experiences! Cool huh? I can sort of speak German :)
   Our p-days are Monday so we are all really excited to just have a break, do our laundry, and go to the temple! For emails they are serious when they say 30 minutes. We have a timer that is sitting at the top of our screens that count down. My address has just changed by one number, so instead of us leaving on December 27th we're leaving on December 26th, Merry Christmas!! On my address its GER-BER 1226. Sister Noyes and I are going to the book store today to buy pictures and paper so we can decorate our classroom. Since we'll be stuck in here for 9 weeks all the foreign students decorate the walls to make it a little more interesting.
   Thanks for being supportive of me. I know I need to forget everything and get to work but that is a harder concept than I have ever imagined! Dear Elders are fun during the week and I've been able to respond to everyone who sent one so if it hasn't come yet just know they're out there. It seems that snail mail and packages take a while to get here. Know that I love you and I miss you incredibly much and any words of wisdom are always welcome! Anyways not a lot of time left! Love you!!!!!!

-Ariel Nell